RAC warns of motorway madness this Maundy Thursday

Article date: 3 April 2007

RAC and Trafficmaster predict a 100% increase in traffic on holiday routes over the Easter break, creating congestion and severe hold-ups on the nation's roads.  Maundy Thursday - 5 April, is set to be the busiest day and travellers are being warned their journey could take up to 60% longer than on a normal Thursday.

Traffic will start to build up at around 3pm on 5 April as travellers make a bid to escape from work early and head to the coast and other tourist hot-spots for the four day break. RAC is advising motorists to leave at least 40 minutes earlier than usual and it does not expect the jams to ease until 8pm on Thursday evening.

RAC has pinpointed the top five jam hot-spots:

  1. Motorists travelling on the M25, especially at junctions 15 & 16 near Heathrow and junctions 20 & 21, are the most likely to be delayed as the London Orbital tops the list of Easter weekend traffic hotspots
  2. The second busiest road is the M5 southbound from Bristol, which is typically clogged with caravans on bank holiday weekends and this can slow traffic considerably
  3. The M1 around junctions 21 to 26 in the East Midlands is likely to be jammed as it carries people north
  4. The M4 westbound from London is historically busy at Easter as commuters escape the capital
  5. The motorways around Manchester are likely to be clogged with travellers heading for nearby holiday spots.

Jon Day, RAC, comments: "We advise motorists to plan ahead to get their holiday off to a good start.  Allowing extra time for your journey, carefully planning your route and making some basic vehicle maintenance checks before you set off can help take the stress out of your trip. Check out the travel updates online at http://www.rac.co.uk/ so you can avoid jams where possible."

RAC recommends the following tips to help motorists maks the most of the Easter break:

  1. Plan your route and have an alternative at the ready in case of delays. Check local radio stations or travel services at http://www.rac.co.uk/
  2. Don't add to the stress of traffic jams by getting lost! Take time to carefully plan your route in advance of your journey. RAC research shows a half of young drivers can't read a map, with some mistaking the M40 for the River Avon
  3. Allow extra time for your journey, especially if you are heading for a popular resort or you are travelling at peak times
  4. Make sure you have enough fuel for your journey. Be aware that the stop/start actions of sitting in traffic jams use more fuel
  5. Just as you fuel your car, make sure the driver has the right food. RAC research shows two thirds (65%) of motorists admit to eating less healthily on long journeys which can encourage lethargy
  6. Accidents and breakdowns can bring traffic to a stand-still quickly, so make sure you keep your speed down and keep a good distance between you and the vehicle in front
  7. Checking oil and water levels and the pressure and condition of the tyres before setting off could help to prevent a breakdown
  8. Take regular breaks. RAC research shows that British motorists are pushing themselves by driving an average of 350 miles without taking a break and ignoring the tell-tale signs of driver sleepiness
  9. RAC rescued over 100,000 motorists who got locked out of their cars in 2006. Make sure your Easter weekend doesn't have a bitter ending by keeping your keys in a safe place.


RAC Press office contact:
Jon Day on 01603 209287/07800 690555, or Leila Bateman on 07973 956850

ISDN telephone interviews and filming opportunities at RAC Bescot, with views of the M6 and RAC's busy call centre are available on request.

Note to editors
About RAC 

  • With around seven million members, RAC is one of the UK's most progressive motoring organizations, providing services for both private and business motorists.  Whether it's roadside assistance, windscreen repair and replacement, learning to drive, vehicle inspections and checks, legal and financial services or up-to-the-minute traffic and travel information - RAC is able to meet motorists' needs. RAC incorporates BSM, RAC Auto Windscreens, RAC Direct Insurance and HPI.
  • Aviva bought RAC in May 2005.  The acquisition brings together RAC's powerful brand and customer base with the expertise and leading position in motor insurance of Norwich Union Insurance (part of Aviva). Norwich Union is the UK's largest insurer, insuring one in seven motor vehicles and with a market share of around 15 per cent.
  • RAC's news releases and a selection of images are available from the internet press centre at http://www.racnews.co.uk/.

About Trafficmaster

  • Trafficmaster is an expert in intelligent driving.  The Group comprises US-based Teletrac Inc. and Trafficmaster Plc in the UK.  Both organisations focus on intelligent vehicle services designed to make driving better by saving companies' and drivers' time and money and reducing their environmental impact.
  • Teletrac Inc offers fleet tracking, management and navigation solutions under the Fleet Director brand across the US, serving 4,000 fleets and a total of 55,000 commercial vehicles, using wireless and GPS technology.
  • The group has also developed a suite of Trafficmaster services in the UK.  Trafficmaster's key product is the award-winning Smartnav, an intelligent satellite navigation system, which uses live traffic information and real-time road speeds to calculate optimum routes and avoid traffic congestion on the way.  Trafficmaster's comprehensive traffic data means Smartnav is continually updated with traffic information, road closures and speed camera locations, without the need for CDs or internet-sourced updates.
  • Trafficmaster also offers Trackstar stolen vehicle tracking, monitored 24 hours a day in the Trafficmaster Control Centre.  Stolen vehicles can automatically inform Trafficmaster and are then monitored remotely and police informed of their whereabouts for fast and efficient recovery.
  • The company provides live traffic information direct via mobile phone services and Radio Data System -Traffic Message Channel (RDS TMC) to other aftermarket and factory-fit satellite navigation systems.
  • Trafficmaster also maintains a unique traffic monitoring network of 7,500 sensors, covering 8,000 miles of UK motorways and trunk roads.  
  • Trafficmaster was founded in 1988 and floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1994.  Teletrac Inc is a wholly owned US subsidiary company.
  • http://www.teletrac.net/
  • http://www.trafficmaster.co.uk/

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